On Thanksgiving, when most people are carefully watching their turkeys roast in the oven and preparing old family recipes for the perfect stuffing, I'll be sitting down to dinner at a truck stop. Hey, don't judge me. I've done it before…several times. And you know what? It's not half bad.

It wasn't always like this. For 21 years, I had Thanksgiving dinner at home with my family. Everyone had a role in the festivities: My sister-in-laws helped my mom in the kitchen, my dad carved the turkey, my brothers and I watched football, and my nieces and nephews ran screaming through the house like spider monkeys on crack.

Then I moved away to do this crazy radio thing. Going home for the holidays wasn't inconvenient...it was darn near impossible. I'm not good at crashing someone else's holidays, and on those occasions when I was solo - relationship-wise - it was every man for himself.

In the beginning, it was tricky finding a place to dine on Thanksgiving. But now it seems that more and more people are looking forward to a holiday as “a day of rest” — a day to break the routine and do something different for a change. Not everyone wants to cook and clean on their day off…and more restaurants stay open to pander to this crowd.

In a nutshell, there are a lot of reasons you might want to go out for your Thanksgiving meal: you hate to cook, your family hates it when you cook, you're going to be alone, you have too many coming for Thanksgiving and can't fit them in your house, you like restaurant food, you hate to clean-up, etc. Whatever your reason, you will find the following restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day and serving a Thanksgiving feast for brunch, lunch or dinner.

  • Iron Skillet at the Petro Truck Stop

    Iron Skillet – Petro Truck Stop I-20 Exit 8 at Industrial Loop Shreveport, LA 71129 (318) 671-6515

    Okay. It's a truck stop diner. But, did you ever wonder why so many truckers swear by these places? It's pretty darn good comfort food, that's why. And on Thanksgiving, you can load up ( and I mean LOAD UP) on your favorite holiday food - turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce - for around $10. Try to get a deal like that at Ernest's!


    After you've dined, make it a point to wander around the Travel Store. This is where truckers get all the miscellaneous crap they need on the road. Trucker hats, Android tablets, Obama bobble-heads...they've got stuff here that flea markets can only lust over. This place makes Cracker Barrel's Family store look like the Mall of America. Forget Black Friday, do your Christmas shopping while you're here. And then wonder why no one invites you over for THAT holiday.

  • Piccadilly Cafeteria

    I'll be honest here. I'm not a fan of Piccadilly. Never have been. But I know people who are. I call them Grandparents. The food is a little too bland for me, but if you're looking for a place that's open on Thanksgiving, pop your teeth in and Rascal it over to Piccadilly...


    “We do see a lot of people on Thanksgiving Day,” said Angele Anson, vice president of marketing for Piccadilly. “You do have people who want to take a break on the holidays and just go out to eat, instead of having to stay home. It can become a tradition.” Right. Like cleaning Uncle Bernie's bedpan.


    Piccadilly will their standard holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day, which includes ham or turkey with dressing, three home-style sides, freshly baked bread, dessert and a drink. The regular menu of favorites also will be available. Piccadilly’s holiday to-go packages, which can be ordered online, feed eight to 10 people and include a choice of turkey or ham, two sides, 12 rolls and pumpkin or pecan pie. Guests also have the option to add extra side items, or extra turkey or ham. Poli-grip not included.

  • IHOP & Waffle House (tie)

    Up early on Thanksgiving? Need breakfast, or just some place to spend time away from the family while the bird cooks? Two old standbys are there for you...


    IHOP, or as the upper-class likes to call it, International House of Pancakes, will be open Thanksgiving Day. Because nothing says Thanksgiving like a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity. Hours will be from 6 a.m. until midnight, and regular menu prices will be observed.


    One Thanksgiving morning I searched all over for a breakfast spot that was open – and I found every place closed except Waffle House. I've been back every year - the years I was actually awake for breakfast - and not just for the food. Waffle House is open 24/7, 365 days a year, so it gets a diverse range of customers. The crowd of diners is even more diverse and entertaining on Thanksgiving. There are some people on their way to somewhere, others that can not get to where they want to be and some that have no place to go at all - but everyone is equal waiting in line and passing the time. I'm sure the servers would rather be somewhere else, though...I know I always walk out after breakfast thankful that I can go to Waffle House by choice and not by necessity.

  • The Boats

    I'm not a gambler, but there's one thing I appreciate about the boats (casinos) here in SBC: they never close. You get an urge for a drink at 4am. Go to the boats. Feel like a seafood buffet at midnight. Go to the boats. Any vice. Any time. Needless to say, they're open on Thanksgiving. So, whether you're feeling like a buffet for Thanksgiving, casual dining, or a 5-Star experience, any of Shreveport-Bossier City's casinos have you covered.

    Click on the casino logo to see the dining options

    Triin Q - Flickr
  • Imperial Cathay

    6359 Youree Drive Shreveport, LA 71105

    Peking Duck instead of turkey? Why not?

    I always wondered why Chinese restaurants were open on American holidays. My guess is that they really don't care, and know that there is money to be made from lazy Americans that don't want to expend the time and energy to cook on their day off.


    Big win for me, because not only do I not want to cook, but I love - LOVE - Chinese food! And of all the Chinese restaurants I've dined at (including Chinatown in NY and SF), the Imperial Cathay is one of the best. Great service, amazing food. And they clean up my mess when I'm done.


    This Thanksgiving, give your kitchen a break. Trade the turkey for the duck. It may be a new tradition.